Modeling the Impact of Road Grade on Driving Behavior, Vehicle Energy Consumption, and Emissions

Modeling the Impact of Road Grade on Driving Behavior, Vehicle Energy Consumption, and Emissions

Motor vehicle emissions and their impacts on local air pollutant concentrations are a primary concern in cities. Properly quantifying energy and emissions is the key step in identifying the major sources of air pollution, evaluating whether transportation activities are consistent with air quality goals, and providing decision makers with reference for implementation of new policies for sustainable development. Road grade is one critical variable that affects engine operations, as uphill grades require that the engine perform additional work against gravity in the direction of vehicle motion (while downhill grades obtain an energy benefit), however little attention has been paid to the interaction between real-world road grade and on-road activity patterns and the resulting impact on energy use and emissions. It is currently unclear how speed and accelerations vary across different road grade levels, and how the interaction of driver behavior and road grade affect engine power, energy consumption, and emissions modeling.

This study is directed at answering two issues: 1) how road grade impacts vehicle speed and acceleration distributions, and how such distributions vary across vehicle types, roadway types, traffic conditions, etc.; and 2) how significant the impact of integrating grade interactions is with respect to energy, emissions, and air quality modeling.

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